There are many reasons why the business landscape is covered in dead dot-coms: over inflated stock prices, business plans that had no business being funded, assumption that anything with a ?.com? at the end must equal success, and so on. Looking at one of the few dot-com success stories, EBay, Inc, reveals an old world business credo that most small businesses should follow: sticking to your core competencies.

In a story by Dow Jones News (04/25/01), EBay which started as an internet marketplace for Beanie Babies & Pez dispensers has moved, ?outword like rings on a tree. Instead of trying to expand into online retiling and having to invest in inventory and distribution centers, EBay has focused on services like Billpoint, a person-to-person payment service, which compliment or enlarged its existing marketplaces,? consultant Chris Zook said.

Ebay?s core competency is managing a marketplace for individuals and small businesses. It is for reasons like sticking to what it does best, that they have delivered to shareholders 13 straight quarters of profits!

Priceline.com on the other hand, ventured out of its core competencies into untested waters with its grocery & gasoline services, resulting in millions of dollars of losses. Now, refocused on its core competency, travel services, shares have increased and it is on track to reach pro forma operating profitability this quarter